Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will meet this fall to discuss whether prescription painkillers containing hydrocodone should be more tightly regulated, Bloomberg reports. They will evaluate the risks and benefits of hydrocodone preparations that are used to treat pain and coughs.
Emergency room visits related to hydrocodone, the key ingredient in Vicodin and other painkillers, have soared since 2000. Vicodin, which also contains acetaminophen, is subject to fewer regulations than pure hydrocodone, the article notes.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wants to change the way drugs that combine hydrocodone with other products are classified, to require patients to have more interaction with doctors in order to obtain prescriptions for them. “It has to do with penalties for trafficking,” Barbara Carreno, a spokeswoman for the DEA, told Bloomberg. “You have to go back to the doctor when you run out of medicine. It’s more oversight by the doctor.” She said that if the FDA decides that the drugs should have more oversight, the DEA will change its drug classification schedule accordingly.
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